At 3 million strong, nurses represent the largest segment of the country’s health-care workforce. Therefore, as posited by the Institute of Medicine, they have the unique opportunity to revolutionize health care.
Debra Palmer and Debra Kramlich hope to aid in that change.
In 2010, they started Zebra Consulting, a business that provides nurses with key skills, tools and knowledge to help “empower” change and, ultimately, elevate the nursing profession.
They are both experienced and passionate advocates in the field – with long lists of credentials, they each have conducted numerous studies, presented nationally and internationally, published papers, and they’re now co-writing a book on nursing research. Deb Palmer answered a few questions about the business:
Q: What were your key needs in getting started with your business?
A: A small amount of seed money to start the business, that is: forming the limited liability company and registering it with the state of Maine. In addition to monetary support, we have had the good fortune of mentoring and support from the folks at SCORE.
Q: What factors from your upbringing(s) gave you the courage to venture out on your own?
A: From my early childhood on, my parents always emphasized the importance of education. My mother always told me that I could do anything in life I wanted to, be anything I wanted to be, if I put my mind to it. This was at a time in our country when there were few opportunities for females in the workplace and career choices were limited. ?[Deb Kramlich attributed her pioneering spirit to a handful of individuals who saw leadership qualities that she didn’t recognize in herself, from teachers to colleagues to wise women who encouraged her and became her mentors.]
Q: What advice would you give an aspiring female entrepreneur?
A: Just try. You will never know if you don’t try, you will always wonder “what if?” Failure is a part of our learning, growing, and, ultimately, our successes.
Q: What’s your overall outlook on life, summed up in a sentence or two?
A: We are passionate about being nurses and proud of our profession. We firmly believe that education is power and with power comes great change. Nursing is still 97 percent female. Women can (be) and are powerful, compassionate, caring, and smart. Women need to have their voices heard. This can only happen if we don’t let others silence us.
Personnel File:Debra Palmer RN, MSCo-owner, Zebra ConsultingCanal Plaza, Portland(207) 632-3840; (207) 233-3516zebraconsult.comStarted their business in: 2010South Portland; four grown children; Debra
Personnel File:Debra Kramlich MSN, RN, CCRNCo-owner, Zebra ConsultingCanal Plaza, Portland(207) 632-3840; (207) 233-3516zebraconsult.comStarted their business in: 2010Raymond; four grown sons; five grandchildren.